COVID-19: About 17 million mink to be culled in Denmark amid fear of new strain
The government of Denmark has said it will cull as many as 17 million mink after a mutated form of COVID-19 virus having the potential to spread to humans was found the mink farms.
Describing the situation as "very, very serious", Mette Frederiksen, Denmark Prime Minister said that the virus poses a "risk to the effectiveness" to the future Covid-19 vaccine, and says that the Danish Police and army personnel will be helping in the mass cull of the mink.
The culling of the mink started last month after many mink were detected with the mutated virus.
Denmark is the largest producer of mink fur, with its most important markets being Hong Kong and China. However, positive cases of mink have also been detected in the farmed mink in Spain and Netherlands ever since the pandemic started in Europe.
According to the authorities, the positive cases have been spreading fast in Denmark. As many as 207 mink farms have been affected in Jutland alone. At least five cases of the new strain of virus have been found, with about 12 people getting infected.
Citing a government report, Prime Minister Frederiksen said that the mutated virus was found to weaken the body's capacity to form antibodies, which will potentially make the current COVID vaccines under development pretty ineffective.
Prime Minister Frederiksen in a press conference said, "We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well."
According to a data from Johns Hopkins University, Denmark has reported as many as 52,265 human COVID cases with 733 deaths since the pandemic began.
Mink are generally dark-colored carnivorous mammals with two extant species referred to as the American mink and the European mink.
A male weighs about 1 kg and is about 62 cm (24 in) in length, however, farm-bred males can reach 3.2 kg, while a female weighs about 600 gm and reaches a length of about 51 cm (20 in).